getting to work




By the motorway end of Jellicoe Road,
behind a Smithfield Freezing Works truck
then a Datsun – a trade-in –– destined for town,
past the granite tide there – by and by –
and the on-and-on of the sea
curving the cold weight of a cold shoulder,
you get to work on your ten-speed
lagooning a curved spine at a stop sign:
white socks, clipped and tight;
your stubbies a lazy beige with a firm belt;
a tightly knitted tie tucked into a shirt;
an arm signalling – in good time – a turn.

And – by and by – ‘cause no one holds a lane
like a Dad, I watch you
ready your foot for the push
waiting for a gap to reveal itself in the traffic
and – for a blink – I lose you to a ute
and I am afraid:
temporary-about-myself afraid
through the sleeve-smudged simile of a window.
I don’t feel hair-in-m’-face three
or cold-floor-morning four or – by and by –
the condensation of being thirteen
growing heavy through net curtains.

Instead I wonder am I like you? –
by and by – as I ready my foot for the push,
as I signal a turn on a ten-speed,
curving the cold weight of a cold shoulder,
motorway end of Jellicoe Road – not like you!
This is the way I – like – get to work.

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